PALMA
HUNDREDS of Majorca-bound British holidaymakers spoke of their horror over the weekend after a car bomb crashed into the departure hall of Glasgow Airport which led to enormous security operations at all British airports.

At Glasgow Airport the McMahon family, heading for Majorca, had already boarded their Palma flight when the vehicle crashed into the airport. They were left waiting for over two hours before they were finally told to disembark. Gordon McMahon told the BBC “the pilot came and told us that a car had crashed into the terminal”. After being stranded on the aircraft for over two hours the family were then put up in Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) overnight. The McMahons had previously assured their son Jamie McMahon, a nervous flier, that the worst would not happen when waiting for the flight to Majorca. Their well intentioned words soon came back to haunt them as they sat in the SECC throughout the early hours of Sunday morning. Mrs McMahon said “Jamie managed to sleep, but we haven't. We've thought about just going home, but this is our two week holiday.” Another family, also booked on a flight to Majorca, witnessed the police scuffle with one of the car bombers first-hand. Alan King and his partner Margaret-Ann McIlhone, from Old Kilpatrick, and their two children were waiting to book into their flight with Ms McIlhone's father, John. Mr King said: “We were just sitting at the bar when we saw four security men running. We thought they were chasing a shoplifter. Then there was a smell of smoke. It was all happening 15 to 20 yards away from where we were.” Soon, they were all told to go outside and were put on a bus. Mr King said. “We were on the bus for five hours because police needed to take everyone's details”. Thousands of holidaymakers had travel plans ruined in similar scenes at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport after a ”suspicious vehicle” was discovered on Saturday night not long after the blazing jeep had ploughed into Glasgow Airport. The whole airport was ordered to be shutdown by police at 8.30pm. on Saturday.

Although the airport re-opened early on Sunday morning, many European airlines had cancelled their flights, bringing an end to thousands of travellers' holiday dreams.

Paul McDermott and his family - a group of eight - were set to fly to Majorca on Saturday but ended up sleeping on a sports hall floor in a nearby sports centre. Mr McDermott spoke to the Liverpool Daily Post about the experience. He said: “it is difficult because there are a lot of us, including my four-year-old grandson and it is the first time he has flown. We are all really tired. I've been catching a bit of sleep on the airport floor.” Vicky Hewison, her husband Mike and their five-year-old son James were also on their way to Majorca.

Mrs Hewison said, “We flew from the Isle of Man to get our flight. “The information provided has been appalling. We were stuck in the departure lounge for a long time and just as we thought we were getting on a plane, we were told we were being taken to a sports centre.” The vehicle found was examined by police and taken away from the airport. A heavy police presence continues in all British airports as security remains at its highest.

On Sunday morning the airport entrance was full of families, couples and groups that had been supposed to catch flights on Saturday. Thay had all had to sleep in local sports centres overnight after the airport was closed.

Leigh Rogers, 26, had driven from his home in Swansea to fly to Reus in Spain. Instead of flying to Reus with Ryanair he was offered the choice of flying to Murcia, which is 300 miles from Reus, or wait until Wednesday to fly to Reus.

He said: ”We arrived at 4am to find the airport was closed. We just had to wait until they would let us in so you can imagine, we are all shattered. We managed to speak to a security guard who said the bomb squad were at the airport and everyone had been told no cars were allowed to be moved.” Sam Stuart and boyfriend Ian Beresford had already gone through passport control when the area was evacuated. Along with hundreds of others, they were taken to Garston leisure centre for the night and then taken back to the airport in the morning to wait and hear when they could catch the next flight. l See Page 10

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